The Latest | Israeli strike kills the ex-bodyguard of Hezbollah's top leader as tensions simmer

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An Israeli strike in Syria has killed a former personal bodyguard of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday, an official with the Lebanese militant group said, as concerns grow that months of low-level border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah could escalate into a wider regional war.

Heavy Israeli bombardment shook Gaza City on Tuesday as thousands of fleeing Palestinians searched for shelter and medical facilities were forced to shut down because of the latest offensive in the territory’s north.

There was no immediate word on casualties. Families whose relatives were wounded or trapped were calling for ambulances, but first responders could not reach most of the affected districts because of the Israeli operations, said Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Hamas has warned that Israel’s expanding military operations in Gaza City and the displacement of thousands of residents could have “disastrous repercussions” for talks aimed at a cease-fire and the release of Israeli hostages.

CIA Director William Burns met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday in Cairo to discuss the negotiations, el-Sissi’s office said. An Israeli delegation was heading to the Egyptian capital, Israeli media reported.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

The war has caused massive devastation across the besieged territory and displaced most of its 2.3 million people, often multiple times. Israeli restrictions, fighting and the breakdown of law and order have curtailed humanitarian aid efforts, causing widespread hunger and sparking fears of famine. The top United Nations court has ordered Israel to take steps to protect the Palestinians as it examines genocide allegations against Israeli leaders. Israel strongly denies the charge.

Currently:

— Keys become a link to home for Palestinian families in Gaza displaced repeatedly by Israel.

— Heavy Israeli bombardment in Gaza City forces medical facilities to close as thousands flee.

— A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targets a ship in the Gulf of Aden.

— Australia appoints special envoy to confront a rise in antisemitism across the country.

— Israeli forces push deeper into Gaza City as Hamas warns that escalation threatens cease-fire talks.

Rafah is a dusty, rubble-strewn ghost town two months after Israel invaded to root out Hamas.

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

An Israeli strike in Syria kills a former bodyguard of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader

BEIRUT — An Israeli strike in Syria on Tuesday killed a former personal bodyguard of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, an official with the Lebanese militant group said.

The news came hours after an Israeli drone strike on a car in Syria near the Syria-Lebanon border was reported by a war monitor and by pro-government radio Sham FM. The Hezbollah official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The Britain-based pro-opposition war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two members of Hezbollah in the car were killed in the strike, while a Syrian driver was critically wounded. There was no immediate comment from Syrian authorities or from the Israeli military.

Hezbollah later identified the militant as Yasser Nemr Qranbish, although they did not disclose the details of his death. That’s standard practice for Hezbollah combatants who aren’t in leadership roles.

Hezbollah supporters on social media mourned his death, calling him the “shield of the Sayyed”, in reference to his tenure as a bodyguard for Nasrallah.

For years, Israel has frequently launched strikes on targets in Syria linked to Iran, its powerful regional backer, but rarely acknowledges them. The strikes have escalated over the past five months against the backdrop of the war in Gaza and ongoing clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Heavy Israeli bombardment in Gaza City forces medical facilities to close as thousands flee

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli forces were advancing deeper into the Gaza Strip’s largest city on Tuesday in pursuit of militants who have regrouped there.

Israeli troops are again battling militants in areas that the army said had been largely cleared months ago in northern Gaza. The military ordered evacuations ahead of the raids, but Palestinians say nowhere feels safe.

“The fighting has been intense,” said Hakeem Abdel-Bar, who fled Gaza City’s Tuffah district to the homes of relatives in another part of the city. He said Israeli warplanes and drones were “striking anything moving” and that tanks had moved into central districts.

There was no immediate word on casualties. Families whose relatives were wounded or trapped were calling for ambulances, but first responders could not reach most of the affected districts because of the Israeli operations, said Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent.

After Israel on Monday called for an evacuation from eastern and central parts of Gaza City, staff at two hospitals — Al-Ahli and the Patients Friends Association Hospital – rushed to move out patients and shut down, the United Nations said. Farsakh said all three medical points run by the Red Crescent in Gaza City had closed.

The Israeli military on Tuesday said it had told hospitals and other medical facilities in Gaza City that they did not need to evacuate. But hospitals in Gaza have often shut down and moved patients at any sign of possible Israeli military action, fearing raids.

Much of Gaza City and urban areas around it have been flattened or left a shattered landscape after nine months of fighting. Much of the population fled earlier in the war, but several hundred thousand Palestinians remain in the north.

Hamas has warned that the latest raids and displacement in Gaza City could lead to the collapse of long-running negotiations over a cease-fire and hostage release.

Elsewhere in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes in the central town of Deir al-Balah and nearby refugee camps on Tuesday killed at least 14 people, including four children and a woman, according to officials at al-Aqsa Martyrs and al-Awda hospitals, where casualties were taken. One of the strikes hit a police station in an outdoor market in the Nuseirat refugee camp, killing four people and wounding two dozen, half of them women and children.

At a hospital, a little boy cried, coughed and wiped his eyes as medics treated him on the crowded floor.

Pope begs for new peace efforts after latest attacks in Ukraine and Gaza

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is appealing for concrete new measures to end the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. The appeal came after attacks targeted a children’s hospital in Kyiv and a school in Gaza.

The Vatican press office issued a statement Tuesday expressing Francis’ pain over the new attacks and his “profound upset” at the spiraling of violence.

Francis has frequently asked for prayers for the “martyred” people of Ukraine but tends to keep his appeals generic. He has also tended to take a balanced line toward the war in Gaza, frequently mentioning Israel and the hostages still held by Hamas alongside the suffering of Palestinians.

A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targets a ship in the Gulf of Aden

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels has targeted a ship in the Gulf of Aden.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center says the captain of the ship reported an explosion in close proximity to the vessel off the coast of Nishtun, Yemen, close to the country’s border with Oman. The ship and crew are safe.

The center did not elaborate on what caused the explosion.

The Houthis have been known to use drones and missiles as well as bomb-carrying drone boats. The rebels have targeted more than 60 vessels and killed four sailors in their attacks. They’ve also seized one vessel and sunk two since November.

An Israel strike hits Syria overnight

DAMASCUS, Syria — An Israeli strike overnight hit near the Syrian town of Baniyas, state media reported Tuesday.

The strike shortly after midnight caused “material losses,” Syrian state news agency SANA said, citing an unidentified military official. It did not say if there were any casualties, nor give further details.

There was no immediate statement from Israeli officials. Israel frequently launches strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria but rarely acknowledges them. The strikes have escalated over the past nine months against the backdrop of the war in Gaza and ongoing clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border.

UN details the effects of the new Israeli offensive into Gaza City

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations said Monday that Israel’s latest evacuation orders for parts of Gaza City affect more than 60 schools sheltering displaced Palestinians, as well as two partially functional hospitals, six medical points and two primary health care centers.

The evacuation orders came as Israeli deepens its offensives in pursuit of militants who had regrouped in the heavily damaged city. Thousands of Palestinians have fled in recent days.

Humanitarian officials report that staff and patients have left hospitals in and around the evacuation areas, and people who were already displaced are being forced to flee again, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The U.N. humanitarian office also reports that “active hostilities, damaged roads, access limitations and the lack of public order and safety continue to hamper movement along the main humanitarian cargo route from the Kerem Shalom crossing to Khan Younis, and then to Deir al-Balah,” Dujarric said.

He said this has resulted in critical food shortages, reduced food rations in central and southern Gaza last month, and the increasing risk of stranded supplies, especially food, spoiling in the heat.

Maysa Saleh, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s education officer in Deir al-Balah, said in a statement that “almost no aid has arrived over the last week or so,” and “food remains the number one worry.”

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